VISITING ARTIST | Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Science | Disease and Biophysics Group
Harvard University, Cambridge MA
New project | Merging Art and Science > Nano. Stasis Cosmic Garden & The Little Black Dress

For more information on Harvard's D&B group visit website: Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science | Disease Biophysics Group Harvard Visiting Artist Carla Ciuffo Merges Art With Cutting-Edge Science

Magical Thinking. What began as a quest for the artist to find a compelling new medium for her artwork became a larger vision merging science and art using the universe of nanofibers. As we bridge the divide between art and science, my endeavor is to show how artists use science to make their fantasies real and palpable; and how science uses the arts in the same way.

Nano . Stasis Cosmic Garden explores the exquisite side of a radical new technology – one that is changing lives. Sparked by Harvard’s Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Kevin Kit Parker and his invention of a cotton candy inspired rotary jet spinning technology; Kit’s groundbreaking work has created a textile that is evolving for a spectrum of futuristic uses – from wound healing, tissue and organ growth to "smart" sports related products.

Like Rapunzel turning straw into gold, these futuristic nanofibers are spun into versatile textiles from polymer composites. I’m the first layperson to actually work in Kit's lab, experimenting with the fiber. Imagine trying to “catch” these tendrils that disappear into the air, and spin them, like Rapunzel, into a usable solid piece of canvas. It takes experimentation with the solution itself, a combination of solvent and nylon beads, and then a process of catching the elusive fibers from a rotary device (the cotton candy machine) using a hand held makeshift drill.

Nearly one year later and after several trips to Harvard, I’ve developed tiny nanofiber “canvases.”  The “nano canvases” will be imprinted with my artwork and showcase the fiber imagery behind large magnifying lenses. Large format acrylic artwork composites using images of fiber from SEM photos taken with Harvard’s electron microscope will showcase the fiber's unique universe.